Thursday, September 26, 2013

Peace While Waiting for the Promise

So I've been reading through a new devotional series on the She Reads Truth website. The series is about God's promises. It's been four days since the plan began but it has been so on point for me.

As we know, I am a recovering uberplanner. I'm learning to be more relaxed and spontaneous. I think I've been doing better, but sometimes I fall off the wagon. It's a process.

Lately I have been obsessing about finances. I've not had a full-time job for over a year. I have a part-time job during the school year and have worked on several freelance projects. While the income from these is welcome, it has not covered enough of a difference to fully meet our monthly expenses; therefore, we have been using our savings bit by bit. At this point, our savings might last another two months. If I don't have more income coming in to make up the difference by then, I'm not sure what we are going to do.

Realizing this after doing some calculations two to three months ago (uberplanner strikes again!), I began searching for a full-time position. I really feel I need one that allows me to work from home because my kids are still in school and there are school breaks, inservices, snow days, etc. to worry about. That and the fact that my oldest is too old for traditional daycare and we can't afford traditional daycare at this point. Ironically, I considered daycare, which would allow my youngest to come on those days and summer break, but my oldest would still be unaccounted for.

As the school year got closer I began to get more anxious. I read over a friend's blog and came across this: "Would you rather have the blessings you can CONTROL or the ABUNDANCE of blessings God desires to pour out?"



The statement gave me pause and reminded me that I need to get back on the wagon.

I am trying to follow God's guidance in the search. I know He says to trust in Him, but I also know I can't ask for something and not put in some work to make it happen. Things aren't necessarily going to fall in my lap.

I'm trying to be patient and learn from the experience. I am trying to discern what God wants me to do. I am trying to have solid faith and remember that God has my back.  I'm trying to put in my works to exercise my faith but am unsure if I am doing too much...or not enough. I'm trying, but...





A friend recently stopped me and asked if everything was okay because I seemed down.  I think preoccupied was probably more like it. Thinking of the situation we are in and dealing with a health issue (which my husband thinks was brought on by stress) had my mind elsewhere.

Enter the series on promises.

I read through the comments that are posted after each devotional and one really struck a nerve. The writer quoted Jeremiah 29:11: For I KNOW the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you and EXPECTED end. (Her emphasis).  She further writes "He KNOWS" and references a question posed by a professor she had in college: "Has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God?" He already knows where you are and where you are going.  She continues with "There is an EXPECTED end." This meaning God already knows our end is totally prepared for it.

But are we?

We can be, if we learn to be patient in the process.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

She's Alive!

Yes. I am alive. I have been quite busy, which has kept me from sitting down and writing to you.

So, what have I been up to? Well, I was hired for a two-month writing project for a leading education publisher. I also served on two planning committees for events at my church (an awards ceremony and the church anniversary) held a week apart from each other. Add to that a proofreading project I did for two friends who are starting a consulting business, my daughter's track season, and various spring concerts (FOUR, between my TWO children!). I also trained for and ran a 5K in there somewhere and am preparing for another. Oh yeah; I also hosted my brother and his family (including a nephew on the way!) for the holiday weekend. It's been a whirlwind.

So what next? Well, my student mentoring job is taking a hiatus for the summer because the kids will be out of school; I start back in August. While I was concerned about what to do when that position ended for the summer, I wasn't really because I knew something would come. In God's infinite wisdom and plan, He has provided me with just the right thing to allow me to work and be flexible for the summer. Instead of working as a mentor, I will be working for two companies. I will be writing assessments for teaching exams for one company (10 questions minimum per month). I'll also be writing elementary video modules/lessons for the other. I'm pretty excited because every project I get allows me to build my portfolio and moves me one step to working on a more regular basis. (My goal is to do what I am doing for a specific company with more regular hours instead of working on a project-by-project basis.)  The schedule allows me to be flexible with my children this summer; I can write while they are taking their music lessons or doing their summer academic projects.

I've been listening and working on what God has been sharing with me. We just finished our care groups at church and have been talking about wisdom and true worship. I've been reflecting on those two topics, particularly the worship aspect. I am working on that and am excited to see what comes out of the experience.

I'll be sure to share. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

No Excuses

I have been struggling to keep some sort of routine in my daily life.  There is somewhat of a routine, with getting the kids off from school and what happens when they get home.  I even have a routine for getting my work hours in without having to sit up late (as I was doing previously).

When you are home or work from home, people have a tendency to assume you don't do anything during the day.  I'll admit, I didn't think being home would be so busy.  When you work outside the home, there is a certain busyness that comes with your job, some more hectic than others.  Some occupations require extended hours, swing shifts, and/or work to bring home.  When I left teaching, I somehow thought things would be less busy.


Running a household is not a relaxing walk in the park.  Sure, there are some days where there is time to sit and relax a bit, but on other days that is simply not the case.  Depending on the day of the week, I can be found scrubbing floors and/or carpets (done when no one is home so they don't get tramped on while drying), washing sheets and blankets, reorganizing something, meal planning, grocery shopping, and working.  These are the weekdays.  Weekends find me doing various things, depending on what is going on in my family's life at the time.

I've been sort of flying by the seat of my pants getting these things done because I never stopped to make a formal schedule.  I know.  Me, the ultimate list checker, without a schedule?  Yup.  Needless to say, it has gotten a little crazy around here and I just can't stand it anymore. 

Enter this website.  Ah, yes.  Something to save my sanity.  I've referenced this site before, but it wasn't until I was reading through some old posts this morning that something jumped off the page.  Literally brought me to tears.  This. Is. IT!  Notice that the word "forward" keeps recurring in the post's explanations.  Forward.  This singular word in its simple repetition brought me to tears.  Why?  Because this is the directive our church is following this year.  We are moving forward.  Like the song says.  Forward!

I now have no excuse to miss things in my day.  Everything is there, from prayer time (with which I was struggling to find a consistent time) and exercise (Let's just not even go there...) to household chores and me(!) time.  I printed it this morning and cannot wait to begin.

There is a saying that goes something like this: If it's important to you, you will make time for it.  If it isn't, you make excuses.

No more excuses.


Friday, January 11, 2013

As Promised

Wow.  There has been so much going on around here.  The holidays arrived and left, along with all of the visits and activities that accompany the season.  I have also reorganized some space upstairs and put my home office into place--so exciting!  Just a few more finishing touches, and it will be complete.

Where to begin?  I've been thinking about where I was this time last year and where I am now.  I was teaching full time, getting ready for grad classes, serving in ministries at church, and trying to run a household.  As I have previously stated, I did it all.  My type A made sure things were finished, lists were checked off, and things were as near to my version of perfect as they could be.  Of course, we know how THAT all turned out.

This year, I am still serving at church (and may be changing my ministries), running a household, working from home part time, and learning.  Not in the sense of grad courses--which I will be discontinuing for a while due to finances--but in the sense of self.  I've been striving to learn more about myself and what God has in store for me.  What are His plans for me?  How do I reach the goals He has for me?  How do I learn to appreciate His grace in all things? How do I show gratitude?

This notion of gratitude in all things has been part of my journey since this time last year.  I had read a book titled One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  The cover challenges the reader to a "dare to live fully right where you are."  If you've not read the book, Voskamp takes the reader through her quest to find what she calls the "beautiful in the ugly."  Meaning, finding God in the midst of all that occurs.  During her quest, she accepts a challenge from a friend to write down 1,000 things for which she can show gratitude.  As you read the book, you find that gratitude is not always easy to find, especially when things are not going as they should.  But it can be found.

When I read this book last year, I needed something to sort of keep me afloat.  I was looking for something that would help me make sense of what I was feeling in the midst of all that was happening.  I read it, and it was good.  It was eye-opening.  But it wasn't enough.  I was so busy I couldn't truly appreciate what Voskamp was saying.  After the year I have lived, I am preparing to read it again, with new eyes and new appreciation.  I simply wasn't ready to receive the message inside.

As part of the journey, I have decided to take the dare.  I tried last year, but found that I ran out of time or forgot or didn't have my journal nearby.  No excuses this time.  On her website, you can download an app that will allow you to write down your gifts as you experience them.  Since my phone is always nearby, I put the app there so I don't miss a thing.  I started Monday and have eight gifts already, including the gift of heat.  Why heat?  Because Sunday morning we woke up to cooler temperatures in the house, courtesy of a malfunctioning sensor in the furnace.  Sunday was cold, in the 30s.  I thanked God for heat because we were able to have someone come out that afternoon, the part needed was already in the house thanks to a forward-thinking owner, and we did not have to spend the night below 30 temps.  I could have griped and complained.  But I didn't.  I made a warm meal, put on an extra layer, and chose to thank God in the midst in appreciation of what I did have.

Along with gratitude, I am learning about grace.  My pastor has been speaking on the topic of grace as we (as a church) have been reading through The Grace Awakening by Charles Swindoll. Through this series I am learning how to recognize grace, show grace to others, and receive grace (even when it may not be deserved). 

It has been an adventure and I can't wait to see what happens next!